Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wat Pho (Temple of Reclining Buddha) - Bangkok, Thailand

Located at the end of Yaowarat street is Wat Traimit Wittayaram Temple, obviously the street is the route out of the temple and to Wat Pho temple. The oldest of Bangkok and a popular tourist destination, Yaowarat Street is said to resemble a dragon's curved body and since dragons to the Chinese are always associated with auspicious meanings, most of the land and businesses here are owned by prominent Thai Chinese business people. For me, as I peeped from the coach, the street apparently resembled another busy Chinatown just like our famous Petaling Street with shops and stalls lined on both sides. Definitely you need buckets of patience to drive through, still, the bus driver surely knew how to zoom in and out before I step foot at Wat Pho temple. 

One of the largest temple complexes that houses the largest collection of Buddha images including the famed giant reclining Buddha, the large grounds of Wat Pho contain more than 1000 Buddha images in total, mostly from the ruins of the former capitals Ayuthaya and Sukhothai. The grounds are split in two by Chetuphon road and the northern section is generally the only one most people go to where the entrance is flanked with stone giants that are clearly influenced by Chinese Thai design. It includes a large bot (temple hall), enclosed by 394 bronze Buddha image and there are also a massive 91 others Chedis of varying sizes around the grounds, alongside with chapels, rock gardens, different types of statues, inscriptions, bell towers and resident fortune tellers.

Phra Uposatha the main chapel at the heart of Wat Pho temple houses the sculpture of Buddha, known as Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn. The strikingly beautiful Buddha is seated on a 3-tiered pedestal, under which are stored the ashes of King Rama I. The wall paintings that adorn the space behind and around the sculpture are truly a sight to behold as the use of gold leaf and mother of pearl adds to the rich and almost divine feel of the area lower. The west vihara holds the image of "Pak Nak Krok", the Buddha under the Naga (snake gods) where the seven snake gods rise above to protect the Buddha.

The must see here is the famous and large “Reclining Buddha” image, created as part of Rama lll's restoration (1841-51). The image measures at 46 meters long and 15 meters high and the head of Buddha with tight curls on two bow pillows of blue, richly encrusted with mosaics is supported by his right arm. The stunning, impressive gold plated reclining Buddha was designed to illustrate the passing of Buddha into nirvana, the soles of Buddha are intricately inlaid with mother of pearl and the designs on the feet are divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified.

About an hour at this temple before we journeyed again to the next destination. Stay tuned! 

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  1. Love the intricacies of the statues... find work by the craftsmen.

  2. Beautiful pictures and nice writeup making me want to go.

  3. The Buddha looks pretty shinny to me =)

  4. lovely snaps. Have not been to any temple for very long time

  5. Another collection of culturally enriching superb photography :)
    Thank you!

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. I have been to Bangkok and I love the place, it is so lively and colorful.


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